Hoops tonight: Texas at Oklahoma State

Nice preview of tonight's Texas-Oklahoma State game in Stillwater by Dave Behr of 247 Sports.

Behr classifies this as a trap game for Texas, and he's probably right. The Longhorns are in the third game of a five-game stretch that started with A&M and at Kansas and finishes with Missouri and at A&M. These aren't the last difficult games on the schedule, but they are a tour of the current top tier of the B12.

They've won the first two, and two wins could have been reasonably argued as the likely number out of these five when the season began. Now, Texas is one of two BCS league teams (Ohio State being the other) that has a chance to go undefeated in conference play. Ken Pomeroy calculated the Longhorns' chance of going unbeaten in the league before playing Kansas at 1.5 percent. After KU, it's up to about 12 percent. (By comparison, that's slightly better than what he has for Ohio State getting through the Big Ten. He also had KU with a 16.5 percent chance of going undefeated before playing Texas.) If the Horns somehow were able to get through these three games, the chances probably go up to about 30 percent. Let that roll around in your heads for a minute.

There's also an ESPN Insider article by John Gasaway, praising the Longhorns for their dominant B12 performance thus far. The only flaw he can find right now is offensive rebounding, which probably is down because Texas leads in field goal percentage in conference games and is second in three-point shooting, just a miss behind Baylor.

However, Oklahoma State has not lost at home, and while Rick Barnes teams have had pretty good success there (6-6, including winning the last two), there will be a lot of emotion in the arena, due to remembrance of the 10-year anniversary of the plane crash that killed 10 of the Cowboys' traveling party in 2001 (please stop by Pokelahoma). Pomeroy gives the Cowboys a one-in-six chance of winning tonight. He gave Texas a two-in-nine chance of winning at KU, for comparison's sake.

Player to watch? Probably Oklahoma State's Jean-Paul Olukemi, a sophomore redshirt swingman who has just been moved into the starting lineup. He's led OSU in scoring in four of the last six games.

What we won't see? Even with the gunning of Keiton Page, who has taken almost 100 shots from beyond the arc, a lot of three-point success. The Cowboys are next-to-last in the league in shooting threes and threes made in B12 play, and also next-to-last in rebounding margin. Those numbers don't figure to get better tonight.

ESPN has dueling analysts, with former Barnes assistant Fran Fraschilla paired with former Cowboy Doug Gottlieb. Should be good if they can keep the play-by-play guy, Mark Jones, from talking too much.


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